LEGAZPI CITY, Albay: The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has reiterated its warning against entering the 6-kilometer radius permanent danger zone (PDZ) as lava wall collapse may occur that could lead to pyroclastic flow in the southeast quadrant of the restive Mount Mayon here.
“Possible collapse of lava wall might occur due to brittleness of the wall instigated by molten materials. Wall collapse is very dangerous because that could trigger pyroclastic flow,” Phivolcs regional director Ed Laguerta said on Monday.
He explained that if the lava dome currently blocking the volcano’s rim explodes side by side with the wall collapse then pyroclastic flow may fall anytime.
Pyroclastic is the hottest molten volcanic material and can travel as fast as 60 kilometer per hour.
The southeast quadrant of the volcano is facing the towns of Santo Domingo, Daraga and Camalig and the city of Legazpi.
“So we are reiterating to the public not to enter the six-kilometer danger zone even though Mayon Volcano appears very calm. We don’t know when the volcano may erupt but fresh magma beneath the volcano is activating,” Laguerta said.
Over the weekend, Phivolcs led by Laguerta with Raffy Alejandro of the Office of Civil Defense in Bicol; Cedric Daep, chief of Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office; and Air Force Major Arvin Buan of Tactical Operations Group 5-Philippine Air Force conducted an aerial survey to check possible development of new lava dome in the northern part of the volcano aside from the existing dome in the southeast quadrant.
Daep told The Manila Times that they are not discounting the possibility of lava wall collapse in the coming days specifically when the volcano is expected to become more restive.
Mayon is an active stratovolcano and the most active in the country, having erupted more than 50 times in the past 400 years.